This morning and lunchtime I accompanied my Vice President with responsibility for budgetary and financial matters, Jacek Krawczyk, my (Maltese) Vice-President with responsibility for communication matters, Anna Maria Darmanin, and my Director of Finance, Freddy Smet, in meeting Dr Louis Galea, a distinguished Maltese figure and, currently, a member of the European Court of Auditors. Dr Galea has particular responsibility for administrative expenditure and therefore, among other institutions, for auditing the European Economic and Social Committee’s budget. The meeting went well. As a general rule, the Committee practices complete openness and transparency with regard to the European Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman and OLAF. We see such bodies as being there to help, and acknowledge that there is always room for improvement. Dr Galea was particularly interested in the cooperation agreement and arrangements that the EESC enjoys with its sister consultative body, the Committee of the Regions. Together, the Committees achieve major economies of scale through an innovative system of pooled resources and joint governance mechanisms. I believe we are setting an example that other institutions will have to follow.